Turkey’s media-skeptic leader has hailed Donald Trump for putting CNN’s Jim Acosta “in his place.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gained notoriety for cracking down on his country’s press core, and insinuated while speaking to reporters on Wednesday that he’d like to see Trump do the same.
“During Gezi protests and PKK terror campaigns, the unity and solidarity of Turkish nation was attacked,” Erdogan said in Turkish, referring to the massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Istanbul in 2013, and a string of terror attacks allegedly carried out in recent years by a group affiliated with the country’s Kurdish minority.
“Those who carried out that game back then in Turkey have done (Trump) wrong again during the news conference yesterday,” Erdogan continued. “And Mr. Trump put the reporter of that group in his place.”
The incident in question erupted when Acosta tried to ask the President-elect a question at Wednesday’s tumultuous Trump Tower presser — Trump’s first since Election Day.
“I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news,” Trump hurled at the CNN reporter. “Your organization is terrible.”
Trump was upset over CNN on Tuesday reporting on a classified briefing presented to Trump by several heads of the U.S. intelligence community. The two-page briefing was based on an uncorroborated 35-page document that claims Russia has been compromising Trump ifor years by collecting damaging information on him.
Since winning the election, Trump’s relationship with the press has turned particularly hostile, with the President-elect frequently going on Twitter diatribes against individual journalists and accusing mainstream media organizations of peddling in “fake news.”
Erdogan, for his part, has jailed at least 144 journalists and shut down or seized control of some 150 media outlets since July, according to statistics from the Human Rights Watch.
The Turkish leader’s comments about the President-elect are the latest indication that the two are beginning to overcome a rocky past.
Over the summer, Erdogan demanded that Trump’s name be stripped from the Trump Towers in Istanbul after the President-elect made disparaging comments about Islam. Trump, meanwhile, appointed several advisers with sentiments blatantly critical of the Turkish leader.
But then, in the wake of Trump’s election upset, Erdogan called the demonstrations that erupted across the country “a disrespect to democracy.”
And now, the two men appear to have found common ground on another issue: the press.